The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi
We are a group of eight or nine Kurds living here while completing our studies. In the month of Ramadan immediately after barbang -- iftar -- after the dishes are washed, we take our cha -- tea -- some sweets and sit down by the lake under the moon and stars.
Each of us has a different story. Each of us has experienced a past that is filled with experiences in all its colors, each with her own stresses and thoughts, each in her own problems but we are all here to make a dream come true.
With our warm tea we make our way down. The hour or two are spent talking on all sorts of topics; anything from scary movies to childhood memories and future ambitions.
We are all different in personalities. All different in our hobbies and fields of study, but somehow in these evening gatherings I feel the purest happiness. Every day I begin to look forward to that circular seating downstairs under the night sky.
When you are far from home, as much as you mix with other nationalities and backgrounds and as many friends you may have from different corners of the world, something feels secure when you are surrounded by your own people.
I say these are my own people. Yet we tease one another's dialects. How the Hawlery people change certain letters when they talk or those from Slemani spoil their words, and how those from Duhok seem to be speaking a different language; we teach other about ourselves even though we are one nation. In our little gathering every single one of us comes from either a different city or a different background yet we are all Kurds.
Tonight that loud table was louder than any other night. An old song was playing on one of the mobile phones; there were five different conversations taking place at once. I look around and everyone's eyes are sparkling with some sort of hope and happiness despite all the toughness some of us are going through.
Being typical Kurds, the table we are sitting around is filled with sweets and snacks. We complement one another's cooking skills though we all know the extent of exaggeration.
Although I know too well each one has her own ocean of stress and miseries. I know that once they have gone back upstairs to their small bedrooms that they will spend the rest of their night back in their thoughts and behind their books. Just as I will.
I look up into the sky, there are a few shining stars. There is one in particular that stands out. You know, that star that is there almost every night, you almost feel that it is yours. Every since I was a child every time I saw one star that stands out in the night sky I would secretly make a wish. With time this secret has grown with me. Every time I look into the sky and there is a star that shines, without thinking I immediately hope or wish for something.
Earlier tonight when I looked up, it did not occur to me to make a wish, even though there are a few things that I could really wish for right now, completing my dissertation would certainly be one of them, but instead I thanked God for belonging to such a loving country.
Even far from home, my people, no matter how different from me, manage to give me a feeling of security. In our little circle I feel as secure and safe as I would be sitting in the walls of my own house among my family. I feel as though these individuals from my own land, who speak my mother tongue and belong to my culture, are able to ease the pain of distance, homesickness and the little bumps during this journey.
I know days will come where nights like tonight will be memories that we will think back of and miss.